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McConnell reserve group hosts bosslift

(Left to right) Master Sgt. Michael Stahl, 18th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, refuels a B-52 Stratofortress operated by Reservists from the 307th Bomb Wing out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., while Jimmy Jordan, BNSF trainmaster looks on, during   a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015.  More than 19 local employers participated in the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Zachary Anderson)

(Left to right) Master Sgt. Michael Stahl, 18th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, refuels a B-52 Stratofortress operated by Reservists from the 307th Bomb Wing out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., while Jimmy Jordan, BNSF trainmaster looks on, during a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015. More than 19 local employers participated in the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Zachary Anderson)

(Left to right) Joe Biggerstaff, AGCO Corporation senior project manager, speaks with his employee, Master Sgt. Michael Stahl, 18th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, during   a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015.  More than 19 local employers participated in the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Zachary Anderson)

(Left to right) Joe Biggerstaff, AGCO Corporation senior project manager, speaks with his employee, Master Sgt. Michael Stahl, 18th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, during a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015. More than 19 local employers participated in the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Zachary Anderson)

Lt. Col. Michael Kleespie, 18th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, explains the flight path to local employers during a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015.  Nineteen employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen received a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein)

Lt. Col. Michael Kleespie, 18th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, explains the flight path to local employers during a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015. Nineteen employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen received a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein)

Employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen pose after receiving a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach.   The employers participated in a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Zachary Anderson)

Employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen pose after receiving a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach. The employers participated in a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Zachary Anderson)

Employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen pose after receiving a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach.   The employers participated in a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein)

Employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen pose after receiving a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach. The employers participated in a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein)

Lt. Col. Eric Vitosh, 18th Air Refueling Squadron commander, pilots a KC-135 Stratotanker during bosslift sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) here, June 6, 2015.  The flight was also Vitosh's final flight as the commander of the 18 ARS.  (Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein)

Lt. Col. Eric Vitosh, 18th Air Refueling Squadron commander, pilots a KC-135 Stratotanker during bosslift sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) here, June 6, 2015. The flight was also Vitosh's final flight as the commander of the 18 ARS. (Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Nineteen employers of 931st Air Refueling Group Airmen received a first-hand look at how their Reservist employee supports strategic reach during a "bosslift" sponsored by the local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) here, June 6.

According to the official ESGR website, the purpose of ESGR is to educate supervisors and managers of traditional Reservists and develop a greater appreciation for the service of citizen Airmen. The focus of the organization is to promote an understanding of both the National Guard and Reserve as well as encourage support of employers in development of human resource policies and practices that support an employee's participation in the military. ESGR also works to inform and educate employers on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) as well as help foster the willingness of employers to support their employees called to military service for long periods of time and greater frequency.
The flight was also an example of how highly the 931 ARG values its relationships with their Reservists employers, especially when it comes to the challenges associated with Reserve service.

The employers came from several states including Kansas and Virginia and flew aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker operated by the 931 ARG.  They observed the aerial refueling of B-52 Stratofortresses operated by Reservists from the 307th Bomb Wing from Barksdale AFB, La. The employees also received an in-depth demonstration on how to operate the boom.

"This was one of the coolest things I've ever done, my son and husband will be so jealous," said Linda Wapelhorst, Butler Community College Director of Online Learning.  "It really opened my eyes to the role Guard and Reservists play in combat."
Wapelhorst was nominated by Senior Master Sgt. Sheila Croninger, 931st Civil Engineer Flight unit training manager.

Prior to the flight, Col. Mark S. Larson, 931 ARG commander, visited with the employers and stressed the value of furthering understanding between the Air Force Reserve and civilian employers.

"It's really wonderful that you're all here today because it's important to remember that not all patriots wear uniforms," said Colonel Larson.  I cannot do what I have to do as a commander and we cannot accomplish our mission without the support of the people who employ my reservists.  Thank you for all that you do."